Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

10 years parked: resurrecting an '88

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 10 years parked: resurrecting an '88

    Hi all, I've been kicking around the forum and driving my '88 DS for nearly 3 years now. I've shared my progress refurbishing that car and enjoying it over the last 12,000 miles in my very long and photo-heavy thread here:

    https://s14net.vbulletin.net/forum/s...0-for-an-88-ds

    These cars have a magnetic draw and I'm always keeping an eye on the market for an opportunity to snag another one, or at least some good parts. The story of this car begins for me in early December, when I found it listed on Craigslist in South San Francisco. You may have seen the ad - it was discussed a bit on the SIG list and the S14 Facebook group - featuring a few basic photos and describing the car as a barn find, survivor type of deal. Claimed to be ready for paint, the seller mentioned some other enticing aspects including all original parts and a motor that had been recently rebuilt.

    The photos didn't give much to go on, but I called the seller and made arrangements to see the car. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but when I arrived I was encouraged to see that the car, despite looking rough in photos, was actually very complete and even in running condition. This is what I saw on that first visit:















    The seller had owned it for something like 20 years, and had a business doing paint on muscle cars. He took this car off the road in 2008 to repaint it and never got around to spraying it and putting it back together. He started it every now and again to move the fluids around, drove it briefly from one storage facility to another, but had it sitting in this state until I came to see it. The trunk was stuffed with a ton of the original pieces, of particular interest to me all of the NLA, M3-specific kind of stuff including various C-pillar trim pieces, bumper brackets, side marker lamps, etc. He did a commendable job keeping everything with the car and, in most cases, taping the relevant fasteners to the components. The interior was complete and in very good condition - original seats with no tears at all, again with the M3-specific bits and bobs, no cracks on the dash. The engine bay was also very very tidy.

    We know that the real risk in a purchase like this is the motor - he claimed it was rebuilt by a Dinan tech but didn't have any details about when that happened or what was done, so I asked to crank it over. The battery was flat, so I pulled the battery out of my tii and hooked it up. The car started on the 3rd or 4th attempt (tii battery is half the size of the M3 battery, so likely a factor) and sputtered to life pretty well. It needed a bit of encouragement with the throttle to get idling, but once it did there were no weird ticks, virtually no smoke out of the exhaust, and the idle settled in around 8-900 RPM.

    Driving the car at that time was, unfortunately, not an option because the car was blocked in with pallets of muscle car parts (see first photo). Still, what had originally been a "check it out for kicks" visit suddenly gave me something very real to consider. The price originally listed with the car was very appealing - a good buy in today's market - and the seller told me that he had been inundated with calls from interested parties ranging from San Diego to Norway. I didn't know if the car would last, but I slept on it for a few days before setting up a time to come by again and drive the car.
    1988 Lachs
    1988 DS - sold
    Bay Area M3 FB group

  • #2
    A week after seeing the car for the first time, I returned with Jon to drive the car and look it over in more detail.



    We dug out the bumpers, foam reinforcements, carriers, and stock wing from the seller's shop. He also had a genuine Evo 2 lip that was primed and ready to go.





    The car had no bumpers, no tail lamps, no windshield, flat and rotted tires on mis-matched wheels, and the driver's seat was not bolted to the floor. I brought along my M3's charged battery, and with the pallets of parts cleared out of the way, the M3 rolled out into the yard under its own power. Jon and I took turns driving this hilarious E30 M3 go-kart around in circles in this small lot, doing our best to feel out all the systems. The clutch felt great (yay); the shifter and transmission fine as well; suspension was hard to evaluate with the flat mis-matched tires, but no glaring issues there. The steering felt really good - tight - and once the motor started to clear its throat it felt pretty solid. It certainly needs some gunk cleared out and adjusting after sitting for a decade, but again there was no weird smoke or noise and when prodded it responded with pep in the small parking lot. The clutch was described as new and felt it, and the suspension what I would call "period aftermarket" with Dinan and Koni components and fixed camber plates up front.



    Jon and I were equally amused at this experience of driving an M3 with a real "wind in your face" style.

    At this stage it was time to take stock of all the factors and make my decision. The completeness of the car and presence of the important original parts was extremely attractive, as was the current state - there was some corrosion at the base of the windshield, but the car was very close to being ready for paint as the seller had described. I like the idea of a known-good starting point in the body that I can paint, put together, and drive drive drive. I don't know that I need another one of these cars, but life is short so I decided to take the plunge.
    1988 Lachs
    1988 DS - sold
    Bay Area M3 FB group

    Comment


    • #3
      I picked up the car on the Friday before Christmas.





      I resisted the urge to drive 30 miles home with the car in its current state on long-expired tags. Maybe I'm becoming an adult.



      Good thing I bought this practical hatchback! Bumpers, wing, right fender, rocker, Evo lip, even a spare steering wheel smushed in the back.





      Following my car home on the 101, where it attracts attention from a grandchild







      I imagine my Miata asking itself, "what is THIS now?"



      Finally home, what a sight!

      So this will be the last of the "purchase" posts in the past tense... all future posts will be about my work on the car and what I plan to do with it.
      1988 Lachs
      1988 DS - sold
      Bay Area M3 FB group

      Comment


      • #4
        So, what's the plan for the car? Well, I see it as an opportunity that happens to match up really well with what I'm looking for right now. As mentioned in my second post, it appeals to me because it's very complete and a great starting point for a car that I can make my own. It's also an opportunity to use some of the parts I'd collected over the past couple years. Namely - the brand new BMW windshield I just purchased, the Evo wing I've had under my bed for three years, and the Evo 3 front splitter that has also been collecting dust for nearly the same length of time.

        I did some digging and I've pieced together the following for this car's life:

        - built 5/87 and sold new in Idaho, 4/88 (what was it doing for nearly a year...? Reviewing my notes, my DS M3 was built 6/87 and delivered 5/88 so I guess they were all like that?)
        - stayed in Idaho with the first and second owners through 1998 or so
        - was in an accident of some sort, no detail provided
        - came to the Bay Area where it bounced around a couple of owners. Fellow I bought it from told me that a previous owner was one of the cofounders of Ask Jeeves, which I find amusing
        - stayed with the previous owner from ~2001 to this December. Was off the road starting in 2008.

        I like that it's silver, because it's one of my preferred colors for these cars (at least in terms of what we got in the US). I was planning to repaint it in original Lachssilber, but the more I think about it, the more I want to do something a little bit different. I know that the stock color is best for resale and preservation and this and that, but this car has 133k miles, a DOT-R fender, and a rear bumper from a different car that it picked up somewhere through the years. It's never going to win awards or cross the stage at Barrett-Jackson. I have a blank slate here to paint this car and, as I said before, make it my own. Paint is not cheap and I don't think I'd be very happy if I paid a good chunk to have this car painted, put it back together, drove to my first event with the car, and parked it next to two other Lachs M3s. It's a nice color, it suits our cars well, but that moment would kill me.

        This will be a "cosmetic" paint job, by which I mean the car will be painted essentially how it looks now and not disassembled much/any further. I do not intend to paint the motor bay or jambs, if that can at all be avoided. I do not want this to turn into a "while I'm in there" restoration that ends 5 years and $40,000+ down the road, so I am not going to remove the motor or strip the underside and go to bare metal. With this in mind, there are three roads I can take here.

        1. Repaint the car Lachs.

        Good for resale and originality, motor bay and jambs can be left alone. Bad for being unique or exciting for me.

        2. Repaint the car whatever color I dream.

        Good for being unique and exciting, not great for resale or originality, probably need to paint jambs. Motor bay will be a sore thumb when I pop the hood.

        3. Repaint the car a color somewhat close to Lachs.

        Good for being unique and exciting, not great for resale or originality, can probably get away without painting jambs or motor bay without looking tacky.

        I'm kicking around some color options - including one favorite at the moment - but I'll save that for another day. Right now I am leaning toward option 3, hoping that I can get away with a more exciting silver (something with a blue or green tint to it could be nice). I'm interested to hear suggestions you may have.

        Of course paint is just one aspect of getting the car back in shape. I will spend the next few weeks cleaning the car, taking inventory of all the parts it came with, and making a plan for paint and beyond. I've ordered a box of maintenance items from Turner that should arrive next week to get started bringing the motor back in to form. I anticipate a full sweep of the fuel system to drain and de-gunk the 10 year-old gas that's been in the tank, then all fluids, spark plugs and affiliated bits, valve adjustment, injector refurb, etc. I'll be repeating much of the work from my DS car but with some experience and knowledge under my belt! Fingers crossed that the rubber isn't in as dire condition so I don't have to go after the subframe bushings right away...

        1988 Lachs
        1988 DS - sold
        Bay Area M3 FB group

        Comment


        • #5
          Very first projects on the car, from today.

          Step 0: take inventory of everything I got with the car.



          I am pleased to report that very nearly everything is there. All critical NLA M3-specific bits are present and accounted for. Also: his and hers M3s (Tesla Model 3).

          Step 1: clean up. I don't really have a photo for this at the moment, but everything on the car, inside, and out, is caked in body shop dust from sitting a decade with no windshield. I wiped down the interior, pulled the trunk carpet up with all the parts emptied out for inventory, cleaned the glass. Tomorrow I will attach with the vacuum and bolt the driver's seat down.



          What to do about this... good audio is nice, but I'm not sure I can live with this arrangement. We shall see.



          Not a priority whatsoever, but this M3 was modified in the 90s and it shows. I hate tint, especially dark purple 90s tint, so I took my clothes steamer to the windows and tore it off.

          1988 Lachs
          1988 DS - sold
          Bay Area M3 FB group

          Comment


          • #6
            Subbed! Like your stable of vehicles

            Comment


            • #7
              sooooooo awesome. thanks for sharing. looooove the detail. praise the Lord. congratulations. color: your call, that's the fun of it. enjoy. be safe. love love
              the winningest racecar ever.

              Comment


              • #8
                Great project car. Sterling silver would be a nice colour; factory M3 colour, still a silver and quite a rare one ,especially in the US ? Personally I wouldn't change the colour and not paint the door jambs as it would really put people off if you came to sell and only reduce the price by the extra to have them done. Leaving under the hood wouldn't be so bad as that could be painted without any problems. Enjoy it whatever route you go.
                This space is a sanctimonious shit free zone.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Looks like a great project. Keep the progress photos coming.

                  1989 E30 M3 Zinno
                  2004 330i ZHP (sold)
                  2018 JCW Mini

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Happy New Year, I'm looking forward to this redo. I'm especially going to watch the, " I do not want this to turn into a "while I'm in there" restoration that ends 5 years and $40,000+ down the road" comment. We have all been there because it is an E30M3. .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Original color. If you do change the color, do it all the right way or you'll ruin the car. The right way is labor intensive but the car is pretty stripped as is so it wouldn't take much more to get there. Goodluck.

                      88 M3 - LACHSSILBER/M TECH
                      89 M3 - ALPINEWEISS II/SCHWARZ
                      89 M3 - SEPANG BRONZE/SCHWARZ
                      91 M TECHNIC TURBO - MACAOBLAU/M TECH


                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I wrote a few comments on SIG about that. I am surprised that all the parts are there after so long. Very glad to see that. What was the agreed upon sales price? I agree with keeping it original color just because silver M's are not that common compared to the other three colors.
                        Who knows where I'll be, changes from day to Continent.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Reelizmpro View Post
                          Original color. If you do change the color, do it all the right way or you'll ruin the car. The right way is labor intensive but the car is pretty stripped as is so it wouldn't take much more to get there. Goodluck.
                          I've never painted a car, what levels of disassembly are we talking about? It looks rough, but it's only had its bumpers, a rocker, and a fender removed, along with the windshield, and then had some preliminary sanding and priming done. Interior is fully in place and the car is in running condition. To me "the right way" is to strip the car to bare metal without a single thing bolted to it, acid dip it or bead blast it, hammer every imperfection straight and repaint it from there. While I'd love to do that some day, that's not realistic or desirable for me now.

                          To do the door jambs seems reasonable enough, I'd have to what, pull the door cards and seals? Beyond the A-class visual surfaces of the car, what other bits would it be smart to paint at the same time, and how much disassembly is involved? (I don't want to do the motor bay)

                          Update for today, no photos: pulled out the seats and scrubbed everything in the interior. Swapped my spare set of stock basketweaves on to the car and removed the dry-rotted tires that were on there. Tint has been completely removed from quarter glass areas but the rear windshield will require a different technique than the clothes steamer I've been using. The film is crusty from age and instead of peeling off in long strips, it sloughs off in small shards. The defroster lines don't help in that regard either. Tomorrow I plan to drain the fuel tank and peek into it from the top and see how things look.
                          1988 Lachs
                          1988 DS - sold
                          Bay Area M3 FB group

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I attempted to drain the fuel tank and, to zero surprise, stripped out the drain plug. I opted to go from the top and remove the level sender and pump to get a look at the inside of the tank. Car is an '88, so just the one in-tank pump on the passenger side.



                            I was pleased to see that everything looked very clean. No corrosion, wiring intact, pump pickup screen clean. Tank looks very clean as well, hard to get a great view aside from straight down but not cloudy or gross from what I can see.











                            Tested the level sender and found that it ranged from 4.6 ohm at empty to 60.6 ohm at full. For early cars the upper value seems correct, though I think I should have 0 ohm at empty. This is measured between the left and center pins, per the Koala manual.

                            Unless someone chimes in quickly with an alternative, I plan to go buy a fluid pump/extractor tomorrow and pull this gasoline out through the top. I also need to brush up on the correct test method for the fuel pump.



                            Back on stock wheels.
                            1988 Lachs
                            1988 DS - sold
                            Bay Area M3 FB group

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              For a color change, you should paint as much as you can but you definitely should do the engine bay, door jambs, doors, trunk. Being that the car was silver it will clash otherwise unless you choose a similar color. There are a lot of decisions to make when you get a project like this.

                              88 M3 - LACHSSILBER/M TECH
                              89 M3 - ALPINEWEISS II/SCHWARZ
                              89 M3 - SEPANG BRONZE/SCHWARZ
                              91 M TECHNIC TURBO - MACAOBLAU/M TECH


                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X